I don’t have any major knocks against the favorites in this Ruffian, other than the fact that they’re going to be short prices in a race that I think is fairly competitive.
Our Super Freak (#3) is arguably the horse to beat as she turns back to a one-turn mile after placing in a couple stakes at Oaklawn. She’s obviously going to attract plenty of attention this time due to her runner-up finish to Monomoy Girl last time, and that might be evidence that she’s rounding back into top form after some disappointing efforts at the end of last year. She’s clearly capable of winning this race on her best day, but she’s not the most reliable horse at a short price.
Lake Avenue (#4) looks like a serious rival based on her two performance as a 4-year-old. However, she is stepping up in class to face the toughest field she’s met during this current campaign. That Heavenly Prize got a lot easier when her main rival Thankful – who was dead on the board – failed to show up with a competitive performance. She may ultimately turn out to be the most talented horse in this race, but she’s going to be a short price based on her perceived potential.
I’m going in a different direction with an up-and-comer.
WATER WHITE (#2) showed promise as a 3-year-old, winning the Busher before finishing third to the freakish Gamine in the G1 Acorn. She made her return last time at Aqueduct in a softer optional claimer and won with ease. That race only earned a 72 Beyer on a day when it was very difficult to make figures. However, one horse has come back out of that race to run significantly (over 40 points) faster, and I believe that was a much stronger race than that number indicates. TimeformUS Speed Figuremaker Craig Milkowski gave Water White a 114 for that victory, believing the track changed for the race. That number puts her in the mix here, and I think she’s going to outrun her odds on the class hike for her confident trainer Rudy Rodriguez.
Exacta Key Box: 2 with 3,4,6
Trifecta: 2 with 3,4 with 1,3,4,6